tv This Week With George Stephanopoulos ABC April 21, 2019 8:00am-8:58am PDT
>> announcer: "thi" wi right now. the mueller report is out. >> game over, folks. >> but the fight is far from finished. >> it's certainly not game over. >> the responsibility now falls to congress to hold the president accountable. >> no conclusion the trump campaign conspired or coordinated with russia to interfere with the election, but the report does not totally exonerate the president. instead, revealing 11 episodes of possible obstruction. did the special counsel intend for congress to pick up where he left off? and -- >> i'm pretty sure he deserves to be impeached. >> there was an obstruction of justice by this president. >> this is about accountability. >> will democrats now move to
impeach and how will the mueller report shape the 2020 race? this morning, we're covering all the fallout with white house counselor kellyanne conway and the top democrat on the house intelligence committee, adam schiff. plus, the latest insight and analysis from our powerhouse roundtable. >> announcer: from abc news, it's "this week." here now, co-anchor martha raddatz. good morning. and welcome to after nearly two years, the mueller report has finally been made public, giving us all a chance to review the special counsel's findings. the president's opinion seemed to have changed very little. repeating his now-familiar refrain of no collusion, no obstruction.ot so clear-cut. mueller's investigation did not find that the trump campaign conspired or coordinated with russia to interfere in the 2016 election. but the special counsel's team did find a series of contacts
between trump campaign officials and individuals with ties to the russia government and the report paints a picture of a president, who committed acts that were, quote, capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations. asking former attorney general jeff sessions to unrecuse himself from the russia investigation and asking the deputy attorney general to mislead the public about why the president fired former fbi director james comey. but the special counsel concluded trump's efforts to influence the investigation, quotes, were mostly unsuccessful, largely because the persons who surrounded the president declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests. the mueller report also finding, the president falsely claiming
reports about his administration were fake news. his staff misleading the public multiple times about comey's firing, and the president himself dictating a misleading statement to the public about that 2016 trump tower meeting. now, as we brace for what could be a long legal battle over the full report and congress's role, these key lines could determine what happens next. "if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgme judgment accordingly while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him." for more on all
this, we're joined now by the counselor to the president, kellyanne conway. good morning. thank you for coming in on an easter morning. the president says there's total
vindication, complete exoneration. no collusion. no obstruction. i want to start with obstruction. you have seen what the mueller team concluded and i want to go to that ending line, "while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him." so, how does the president call this complete exoneration? >> the president says that because he's known from the beginning that there was no collusion. there's no criminal conspiracy between the trump campaign and the kremlin to try to disrupt and spread disinformation about our elections. that was the central premise here. - >> first networks to use obstruction -- mainly because the obama administration. >> kellyanne, i want to go to obstruction of justice and what mueller concluded. >> he concluded -- >> i'll read it again, while this report does not conclude
that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate -- >> respectfully, that's not the job of a prosecutor, is to gather information to indict or decline to indict. they declined to indict. the president is staying in the white house for 5 1/2 years. why, they found no evidence. they said in print, on twitter, on tv, i think there's a couple of other things in the mueller report that are very important not only was obstruction of justice not found, that there was complete compliance, so as mr. barr attorney general has also said that the sheer compliance, the millions of pages of documents, the 500 witnesses, the 2800 inquiries, the subpoenas, on and on, all of this means -- $25 million of taxpayers money, two years we've been doing this, they were never interfered or
impeded. >> kellyanne, we're getting away from this, will you acknowledge that mueller explicitly didn't clear the president? >> there was no reason for him to do that, the central premise here was collusion. there isn't any. i'm really shocked that -- >> exactly what you were talking about. two years he looked at obstruction of justice. >> if he wanted to charge -- >> you think this totally exonerates from him? >> yes, i do. the word exoneration was unnecessary in the mueller 94-6 deputy attorney general rod fbi director james comey the summer before should have never gone out and say we're declining to prosecute hillary clinton.
>> kellyanne, i want to stick to what's happening in this report. the president is now calling the report crazy, mueller highly conflicted on march 26th, just a few weeks ago. trump thought mueller acted honorably. >> i think so. pressure on mueller's team to produce what many trump haters and critics and people who got the election so wrong hoping they would produce, that this election shouldn't have happened. denied the electability of donald trump. i think there's some people who are way too invested in the outcome here and should admit that, they should that they are partisan. they didn't want him. they want to say, i never saw his election coming because they cheated and they stole the election and they were colluding with russia. can we talk about the russia interference? that's important.
>> we're going to talk about the russia interference. i want to go through this mueller cites mueller report. a series of unsuccessful actions that the president took to try to influence the election, including then-white house counsel don mcgahn telling him to have mueller removed in 2017. here's what the report says, mcgahn recalled that the president called him at home twice and on both occasions directed him to call rosenstein and say that he had conflicts that precluded him from serving as special counsel. mcgahn recalled him telling him, mueller has to go and call me back when you do it. in january of 2018, "the new york times" reported that the president had ordered mcgahn to fire mueller after the mueller report, it says after the story broke, the president threw his personal counsel deny that he had been directed to remove the special counsel. each time he was approached,
mcgahn responded that he would not refute the accounts because they were accurate in reporting on the effort to have the special counsel removed. here's what the president said when asked whether he ever tried to fire mueller. >> have you thought about, consider, leading to the dismissal of the special counsel? >> i haven't given it any thought. i've been reading it from you people. you're saying, i'm going to dismiss him. i'm not dismissing anybody. >> and this is what he said when the story came out in "the new york times" about don's refusal when asked if he sought to fire robert mueller. he said, fake news, folks, fake news. typical "the new york times." that's not true. the president tried to have mueller removed? >> that's a couple of minutes of one side, so i hope you'll be ample time to respond. i have been sitting here patiently and respectfully. this has been a frustrating
president about ill-conceived investigation from the beginning. in the mueller report, you see again and again no interference or obstruction of the investigation that the president believed from the beginning, knew from the beginning -- >> we're talking about the president said. he called it fake news. he said he did not try -- >> conspiracy. >> he sa he t any to try to remove -- >> the mueller report -- >> that's not true. >> the mueller report itself says there was no interference. that is -- that document says there's no interference -- >> the mueller report i just said to you. >> if the president wanted to fire bob mueller he would have. he has the authority to do that. he fired director comey. >> why did the president then say to the press and the public that he -- >> he thinks the whole thing is fake news. he thinks the whole thing is fake news. >> is the mueller report fake news? >> no, the mueller report clearly shows that russia -- >> the mueller report clearly
shows that -- >> martha, let me respond. if i may respond, the mueller report does say that russia tried to interfere with this election. military officials. people at the highest levels. but, quote, unsuccessfully to effect the outcome of the election. which means donald trump has been legitimately elected fairly and squarely. the alleged russian interference in the election was done unaided by anybody in the trump campaign. >> was don telling the truth? >> he stayed on the job for 18 months after that. so i think that's very telling -- >> was don mcgahn telling the truth -- >> he's an honorable man. i wasn't there for any of their conversations in this regard. i will tell you that don, if he were asked -- >> you also said that he would not -- that you deny that donald trump --
viewers as to what the mueller report really does which is donald trump. >> he's not even discussed firing bob mueller. >> definitely not discussed it with me. i speak from my conversations with the president. there are other things in the mueller report don't sound like donald trump. i have been by his side for three straight years. he's never once said to me, my candidacy is over, my presidency is over. what i want the viewers to understand what's in this report and what is not in this report. there will be no criminal charges brought against president trump. there will be no criminal charges brought against anyone in his family or connected to his campaign. that i managed to a successful end. if anybody should be outraged today it's all of us who spent years of angst and anxiety with people who never saw his election coming trying to put an a asterisk next to it. we should be concerned about russian interference. >> i want to get a clear answer on don mcgahn. do you believe don mcgahn when
he said the president tried to get the bob mueller fired. >> i would remember everyone that gets zero coverage, days before -- >> please answer that question. it's in the mueller report and don mcgahn said he's telling the truth. under oath. did you believe don? >> i believe that don mcgahn is an honorable attorney who stayed on the job 18 months after this alleged incident took place and that if he were being asked to obstruct justice or violate the constitution, or help commit a crime by the president of the united states, he wouldn't have stayed. the president was frustrated. he's trying to make an ill-conceived investigation that's produced no collusion, no criminal conspiracy, no indictment, no impeachment of
this president. he says on page 61, mueller admits that the president is rightly frustrated that he thinks this ill-conceived investigation is going to affect his ability to go forward with foreign policy and his domestic agenda. he's been under a cloud from day one -- >> kellyanne, just a few minutes. >> goes to trump tower, never bothers to come to meet the president elect between his election. you know james comey spends the last minutes of his time, telling the president about some unverified dossier, some golden shower nonsense that's been -- >> kellyanne, let's talk about what else was not proven. the investigation didn't establish members of the trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the russian government in its election interference activities. but at the heart of this investigation was russia's role in the 2016 election.
the mueller report was unequivocal about that as well. saying, the russian government interfered in the 2016 president election in sweeping and s systematic fashion. the investigation that the russian government perceived it would benefit from the trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome and that campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through russian. >> i think they tried to sow disinformation in our election. we should never allow that from any foreign government or foreign actor. they were also unsuccessful. donald trump won. we didn't have wikileaks we had wisconsin. he won because he was the better candidate with a better message. we had a fraction of the personnel and resources. martha, it's very important that your next guest adam schiff to his credit and the senator of
his state dianne feinstein pled with president obama to do more your own networks talked about collusion in july of 2016. >> and we'll ask congressman schiff about that. >> to their credit, people were trying to get the obama administration to be more serious. they dropped the ball completely. looked the other way, why? because the candidate they wanted to win thought would win. that's a disgrace on our democracy. it should never happen again. but let me make very clear, as campaign manager i never gave a thought to russia interference, to russia helping us. i was talking -- >> you retweeted some things that came from russian trolls. >> how would i know that? and i was contacted by wikileaks and never responded. i'm sure the investigators know that. >> but i want to end here with something that mitt romney said -- >> he won fairly and squarely. when we see donald trump get re-elected -- >> tens of millions of people
read those social media posts. >> why he'll get re-elected -- he'll look at this ill conceived investigati investigation collusion -- >> they used the word "conspiracy." >> the investigators used the right word. most of thar -nd theredent -- >> but they're all trying to say we didn't use that word. azam chif in at least 14 tweets this week and today on, collusion, collusion. people will look back at this week as another reason he got re-elected. mark my words, they spent 22 months, $25 million constantly beating the drum of collusion. that's why i think that you have many of 2020 candidates and nancy pelosi -- >> kellyanne, let me end with this. you have read the report. you have also read reports of lying in the white house and that atmosphere, about comey,
about other things, about the trump tower. >> what do you mean comey? >> why comey? >> he's a proven liar. comey was fired for several reasons. i relied almost exclusively on the rosrosenstein memo. the name of that document is called "restoring the integrity of the fbi." it goes on to say, james comey usurped attorney general lynch's power. never should have done a press concerns. y mll otrump fired led the end comey, substantial ed indicates that the catalyst for the president's decision to fire comey was comey's unwillingness to publicly state that the president was not personally under investigation, despite the president's repeated requests that comey make such
an announcement. i want to end with a comment by senator mitt romney. who also weighed on this. he released a strong statement friday about the report. here's what he said, i'm sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land. including the president. i'm also appalled among other things fellow citizens working in a campaign for a president welcomed help from russia. senator romney said it was good news that president trump wasn't charged with a crime. but does he have a point that this shouldn't be a standard for the highest office in the land? >> the campaign i managed did not welcome help from russia. i don't recall being offered from russia. a ridiculous -- >> should the president at least apologize to wikileaks? >> i think the president deserves an apology from of pe country including those who have a lot of power in this country. particularly a political party,
the media as well. let's let the mueller investigation go on and see the collusion. day after day, graphic after graphic, panel after panel, story after story, we're leading the public to believe that there was collusion and criminal conspiracy. as for mr. romney, as the junior senator from utah, i thought that mr. romney missed a great opportunity this weekend to say one very important thing, which is that he was right in 2012 when he said to the whole world in a debate against then-president barack obama, the biggest geopolitical foe was russia. the media ignored him. he was right about that. i think president obama should have listened to those words. in 2014, when he had amp evidence whenryg to ancracy. so, but instead, senator romney did what most people did, trump
as the subject, predicate, adverb in every sentence. i think this is why many people want to investigate the investigators to find out why the obama administration ignored russia interference -- >> that's got to be your last point there. >> thank you for having me. full exoneration. no criminal conspiracy. happy easter. happy passover, whatever it
is that you celebrate. >> thanks very much, kellyanne. joining me now democratic congressman adam schiff, the chair of the house intelligence committee. congressman schiff, kellyanne conway has said you have resign as committee chair, you will not. what about the evidence. you have said there's ample and abundant evidence of collusion. leaving the very strong impression there was illegal activity. >> well, you heard another display of alternate facts from kellyanne conway today.where shd
athe russians triidroubanalel tohe cn. i have been clear overheas year that there's ample evidence of collusion in plain sight. i use that word very carefully. i distinguish time and time again between collusion that's acts of corruption that may or may not be criminal and proof of a criminal conspiracy. and that's the distinction that bob mueller made within the first few pages of his report. every about that i pointed to in evidence of collusion has been borne out of the report. i'll also say that with respect to most of those acts involving the meeting at trump tower, involving the provision of polling data, involving the discussions between the national security adviser and the russian ambassador, all these and so many more, kellyanne conway and the president of the united states call this fake news. disputed that these facts were even facts. >> but congressman, you went farther than saying ample evidence, you once described on this program, the president's
administrations's action related to the russian, beyond the size and scope of watergate. >> i think from the mueller report that's exactly right. the obstruction of justice in this case is far worse than anything that richard nixon did. the break-in by the russians of the democratic institutions, a foreign adversary. for more significant than the plumbers breaking into the headquarters. yes, i would say in every way this is more significant. the fact that a candidate for president and now the president of the united states would not only stand up and resist russia interference in our election, but welcoming it, goes well beyond anything that richard nixon would do. yes, i think it's far more serious than watergate. >> on obstruction of justice, based on the information in the report, do you believe the president did obstruct justice?
>> i do believe that he obstructed justice and did so in many ways, and i think that the mueller report points out how the elements of obstruction are met in several courses of the president's conduct. what bob mueller said, and this is obviously directly contrary to what barr to the country, he felt that he could not indict a sitting president. kellyanne conway points it out as proof of innocence. bob mueller felt he could not indict the president. the most that he could do was say that the evidence did not exonerate the president. i think the reason why he did that is because he could not only indict the president, but i think he also felt that he could not say the president should be indicted. effectively the same thing. cast the same stigma over the president. so, i think that's why bob
mueller made that nontraditional prosecutorial judgment. he came as close to saying the ed of obstruction was evidence of a crime within the regulations. that's i think the point that he was trying to get across that he preserved the evidence for when the president was out of office and he also laid out the evidence so that congress could understand and undertake its own responsibility. >> and congressman schiff, let's turn to impeachment. senator elizabeth warren has tweeted, the severity of this misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty. inia ieachmeceedings against the president of the united states. you've said, unless there's bipartisan support for it, it's a bad idea. but what about that constitutional duty or any precedent that this might set? >> well, look, i think elizabeth warren makes an important point and that is the level of evidence in the mueller report
is serious and damning and under normal circumstance would be i think without question within the realm of impeachable offenses. we're in an environment today where the gop leadership, people like kevin mccarthy, are willing to carry the president's water no matter how corrupt or dishonest the president's conduct may be. and in those kind of circumstances, when mitch mcconnell won't stand up to the president either, it means that impeachment will be unsuccessful. i think what we're going to have to decide as a caucus, what's the best thing for the country? is this the best thing for the country, take up an impeachment proceeding? because, to do otherwise sends a message that this conduct is somehow compatible with office or is it in the best interest of the country to not
take up impeachment that won't be successful in the senate because the republican leadership won't do its duty. that's a very tough question. i think it's one we ought not to make overnight. >> just a final question here, congressman, you said the attorney general bill barr did a grave disservice to the country by misrepresenting significant parts of the mueller report. congressman eric salwell said, barr should resign. do you think he needs to step down? >> look, i think he should have never been confirmed. i said so at the time. he absolutely should have been considered unless he recused himself from an investigation in which he had such an obvious bias. i'm not ready to speculate about whether he should resign or not. given that that's not going to happen anyway. but the fact of the matter is, bill barr views himself as the president's lawyer not the attorney general of the united states of the america. and he i think quite
deliberately misrepresented in saying that there was no evidence of collusion, when that mueller report didn't say. when he said there's no obstruction of justice. when he provided his own summary and we now know bob mueller had his own summary. there was nothing preventing bill barr from, if he wanted to give advance notice of what the report was going to say, give bob mueller's own words. bill barr chose to mislead the country with his own spin, a spin that was embraced by the president and i think that history will reflect that bill barr let the country down when it needed an attorney general of substance. >> okay, thanks very much for joining us this morning, congressman. >> thank you. up next, abc's terry moran and pierre thomas break down all the fallout over the mueller report when we come back. >> announcer: "this week" with george stephanopoulos sponsored by pacific life. protecting generations of families for more than 150
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juries and conduct criminal investigations for that purpose. but i'm told his reaction to that it was my prerogative as attorney general to make that decision. >> abc's chief justice correspondent pierre thomas there questioning attorney general bill barr at his press conference before the release of the mueller report on thursday. pierre joins me now as well as senior national correspondent terry moran. good morning to both of you. and pierre, was it barr's prerogative to make that conclusion? >> martha, one thing that struck me about the press conference the other day, he views himself as a colleague and peer of mueller. he didn't have mueller on a pedestal. at the end of day, his position is, i'm the attorney general, he reports to me, it was my call to make. >> terry, you said about a month ago on this program that if mueller did not have evidence to support that the president aided the russians that's a reckoning
for the progressives and democrats. el i thinkt does.areckong r moc? donald trump is not going to be removed from office for this. whatever the house of representatives does. the 2016 election is not going to be reversed by this. and too many democrats and progressives stake their hopes on that. >> but even with the obstruction of justice that he did not make a determination, mueller, still a reckoning? >> a reckoning for democrats, for sure, because now that hope is dead. and as a result, they are going to go to the public as many of the candidates already are with an argument more than, don't you hate him, too, don't you want to get rid of him, too, and i think that's a positive reckoning for democrats. this has been an obsession. this has been something that
has consumed energy, political energy in the democratic party and in the media as well. good for the country. >> pierre, but there are these other investigations howevestations, we know nothing about those investigations. >> we only know about two of them. one involves michael cohen and the other involves former white house counsel greg craig. there are 12 others. but it proves, there will be echoes of the mueller investigation long after he closes up shop. also it means you have the fbi and the justice department that will have to make more decisions potentially about the president and others. >> terry, finally, i wanted to talk about the seriousness of this russia interference at the heart of this, they did a lot to interfere in that election. >> it was the most serious. and dastardly attack on the election process.
it was hacking of multiple computers. an effort to slant the election. trying to hack the counting machines to come up with a false report. it was the spread of fake news. all americans should be united against that. i think one of the disappoints people have with donald trump is that he was so reluctant to acknowledge the obvious and defend the country. and i think there are questions well. but president trump spent months, i was in helsinki, i saw him doing it, denying it. >> martha, at one point the mueller report said there were 59 computers associated with the democrats that the russians were rummaging through and that they targeted hundreds of clinton campaign officials and advisers, it's stunning. it was audacious. >> hopefully we're doing something about that next time. up next, with democrats divided over impeachment, how will that debate shake up the
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republican strategist and abc news contributor sara fagen. and democratic strategist and abc news contributor stephanie cutter. welcome, everyone. happy easter. and rick, i'm going to start with you, the trump team is claiming complete vindication. democrats are saying, not so fast. they want more investigation. does this leave the country exactly where we were before completely divided? >> this moment was climatic and anti-climatic at the same time. in the political class i think it's fair to say no one's mind was changed about president trump. that doesn't mean that there aren't really serious things that are raised in the mueller report. but it does mean that as a practical political matter this wasn't a game-changer. >> ayesha, the picture that the mueller report paints of the west wing, it's not really a glowing one.
"the washington post" put it this way, the vivid portrait that emerges from the mueller's 448-page report is one of a presidency plagued by paranoia, insecuring and scheming of trump spasms. you cover the white house every day. is that the sense you get? >> well, i think what that report showed in very vivid imagery how this is white house where you have a president that's oftentimes disconnected from his staff. oftentimes you'll talk to people and it's like, we don't know what he's talking about. we don't know what's going on. what will have the long-term implications is this idea the president tells people to do things and they don't necessarily do thes confi but what happens when someone doesomhahe's asking them to do, some of this has come up with the department of
homeland security, when he's asking them to do something that may not be legal, what happens when they follow through on that? >> sara, the report lays out several instances directing aides to do things they didn't follow through on. kind of a blessing in disguise in this case. what does this tell you about the white house? >> well, you know, i think for all the chatter about some of the trump staff going into the administration, perhaps people not being qualified or perhaps him not having the best team, they actually turn out to be a great team for donald trump. they know him well. as bob mueller pointed out in that report, which is the president was very frustrated with this investigation and believe it was never true and never should have been conducted, and he had a staff particularly in don mcgahn who knew he was lashing out. and didn't act on that. as a result of that -- >> they know when to ignore him
and not to? >> like any relationship, you know web somebody isversus wey'. i read this. i think bob mueller to his credit while that wasn't his job to psychoanalyze the president, he took that into account. the people closest to trump knew when trump was lashing out and angry and upset about something he read because he felt it was unfair and unjustified. and don mcgahn served the president actually quite well in this regard. >> and stephanie, senator elizabeth warren as you heard now calling for impeachment. do you think many others will follow, do you think that will happen? do you think it should happen as we approach 2020? >> i think that there will be more that call for impeachment proceedings. but i think by and large most democrats are looking for democrats to do their job. big piece of that is getting bob mueller to testify before the house.
i think that this debate, you know we all think about this d testifies to the country, even -- he could just read the report, i think that's a big moment. a big moment not only for democrats but republicans. all the questions this morning have all been about what democrats should do. what should republicans do? >> is the country exhausted by this? >> absolutely. >> i go across the country -- people aren't even tracking the mueller report. >> they're exhausted. it's not coming up on the campaign trail. we all realized that. however, i was struck by something a freshman democrat said over the past couple of days. abby, a new member from northern virginia, swing district, she said, is it divisive? absolutely. it's divisive to start impeachment proceedings. does that mean we shouldn't do e es, hthere ar
between of investigation before impeachment proceedings started on richard nixon. democrats have some more investigating to. they askedorisax returns. why is he so cozy with russia? he invited russian interference in this election, why? we need to get to the bottom of that. >> rick, on that same vein, this wasn't the report that many democrats were hoping for and congress is continuing to push forward for investigations, but i was struck by the focus of the democratic address this week by representative debbie dingle, she talked about health care and she talked about jobs, i think the message was pretty clear in that, let's move on and let's not get into the trump accusations again and again. >> i think the answer for democrats may not necessarily be not only move on but move to the side this whole issue.
impeachment-light. an whole series of investigations. i think chairman schiff, yeah, there's probably enough. if you want to impeach the president, there's high crimes and misdemeanors. you can pursue that. and short of that, lots you can do inside the confines of the mueller report and other things around there. by the way, i think 2020 candidates would like to see that handled on capitol hill. it takes the pressure off of them. they're not being asked about it. they want to have a good answer. i think it's helpful for them to say the process is working its way through. when it's a functional matter we know this is going to be litigated in in next year's elon ihment. >> how much focus do you think there will be on this? in terms of this report. >> as always, voters are focused on those bread and butter issues -- the economy, health care. that's what democrats have been talking about on the trail. they haven't necessarily been leading with, we're going to impeach the president. i think that there's a case for people that are very adamant about wanting to see some type
of justice when it comes to the president, those democrats who are like, why should we let this just slide? we should be more aggressive. so i think that's why you see elizabeth warren coming out and saying, look, this rises to the level of impeachment. let's at least look at this because there's this need i think on the democratic side to put up a fight. among some. i think for a lot of average americans they're probably going to be focused on those pocketbook issues. >> stephanie, let's move on the democrats. the trump campaign raised $1 fr the mueller report. they also raised more than $30 million in first quarter, as much as bernie sanders and kamala harris the top two fund-raisers. is that a bad sign for democrats? >> well, yes. >> quite simply. >> it's also a sign of pe incum
trying to re-elect a president. that power of incumbency can't be underestimated in a presidential campaign. he's got the time and the resources to put together a campaign. he doesn't have to go through a primary. as of today, we have 18 people running. when biden gets in, we'll have 19 people running. you know, that's a loft money being split. so, you know, the challenging party going through a primary, it's much more difficult than the power of the incumbency. i think raising money off of the mueller report, he's got a very active base. and he stokes it, every single day. we've seen it. he's trying to destroy mueller's credibility. even after the report comes out. that has an impact on his base. it has act on our base, e ic p ould argue- >> youo.
>> i would argue that if democrats were smart they would nominate someone like joe biden. the reality is donald trump -- >> stephanie's smiling. >> what strikes me as a republican operative is, how quick many democrats dismiss this idea and say joe biden is not the future of the democratic party. but i look at it quite differently, which is donald trump is actually in the strongest position he's ever been to be re-elected. he as a very strong economy and he was just exonerated from the underlying charge of this russian conspiracy. many of donald trump supporters and even people who are swing supporters, look at this and say, he was unfairly treated in this process. he is strongly positioned to be re-elected. the democratic party going and talking about medicare for all, free college education, free health care, taxes on everybody, to pay for all of these things, that is not a wible,
middle-class individual who people respect and like. >> i want to ask our two reporters here to talk about lessons learned. what lessons did the republicans and democrats learn from the past two years? >> i think that's very hard to say because i think in d.c., do people really learn lessons? but i think -- >> or they might learn the wrong ones. >> they learn the wrong ones. but i think -- and what's interesting, and this kind of goes off of what was just being said is, when donald trump came into office, he came into the office as the outsider with not sensible ideas, but we're going to have a wall and mexico's going to pay for it. now it's the reverse. he's the incumbent, trust me. all these democrats have these wild ideas, do we want to trust them? i think what we saw with president trump is that things
that look very kind of wild and outrageous to the kind of d.c. establishment can quickly become the norm. if they are sold in the right way. i think that democrats even though they're looking at these bold ideas that may be what they need to get the attention of voters. >>nd for republica, these ears presidt ump's hijacking and complete takeover of the republican party. mitt romney notwithstanding. republicans are still behind him. they're going to be in with him for better or for worse in 2020. for democrats, their expectations around mueller were unrealistic. they were hoping that mueller would kind of be a get out of jail free card. this would get the hard work done for them. the whole political environment created president trump. it's going to take politics to oust him. if democrats want to defeat him, they'll have to do it by grinding out over the course of the campaign. >> okay, thanks to all of you and have a great day today. we'll be right back. great day today. we'll be right back.